In May 2020, I ordered an independent review of allegations against a former University of Utah police officer accused of inappropriately sharing and discussing photos being used to extort Lauren McCluskey. That review, conducted by the Utah Department of Public Safety, is now complete and is available online for the campus community to review.
I am grateful to Commissioner Jess L. Anderson of the Utah Department of Public Safety and his team for their thorough, comprehensive and independent investigation that included interviews with 20 current police officers and employees, and 17 former employees.
In summary, investigators found no evidence that a former University of Utah officer inappropriately downloaded extortion photos that had been emailed to him by the victim or that he had electronically transferred those photos to anyone other than the detective assigned to the case.
However, the report did find evidence that a small number of officers inappropriately commented on the photos before, during or immediately after a shift change briefing. As I wrote in May, it is inexcusable for any law enforcement officer to discuss photos or information provided by a victim outside of clear and legitimate law enforcement reasons. I am deeply disturbed by this finding and disappointed in the officers who were present and who did not report this incident through appropriate university channels.
This type of behavior is not acceptable in my department and will not be tolerated.
While employment actions are confidential, it is important that the university community understands we are pursuing action against individual officers based on the findings in this report. As our new mission statement makes clear: We seek public trust by policing with compassion, integrity and accountability in our daily pursuit of excellence. We nurture public trust by holding ourselves to the highest standards.
These are not just words. They are values that I expect every officer and staff member in my department to live up to every day.
Since coming to Utah earlier this year, I have been impressed with the sincere commitment shown by many in my department to change our culture and regain the trust of the campus community we serve. But, we cannot ignore our past and this report is a stark reminder of why our work moving forward is so important.
We will continue to strive to be better, to hold each other accountable and to serve our community with the utmost integrity. I look forward to continued conversations with students, faculty and staff as we work to build a law enforcement agency reflective of the remarkable organization and people it serves.
Read the executive summary here.
Read the full investigation report and addendums here.